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Thursday, 14 May 2009

Does anyone care when dog kills dog?

Last week a lady was walking her small friendly rescue dog on a lead on the upmarket housing estate that is near my shop, when a large dog (American Bulldog type we believe) came from nowhere and took the little dog by the neck and dragged it off into the bushes ..... apparently the little dog was killed, but the dog ran off with the body.
The distraught owners rang the council (dogwarden came out, said they couldn't do anything as it was quote "dog on dog".) Rang the RSPCA (didn't want to know - no surprise there!) Rang the police ..... very little concern, nothing really done ... again "dog on dog" didn't really seem important to them?
The people found out where this dog lives (it has attacked other dogs in the area over the past couple of years) - went round with dog warden but the people wouldn't let the dog warden into the garden to see if the body of the dog was there, and were not willing to talk to anyone - certainly no apology or remorse. They said that the dog in question was no longer living there .. we believe it has been sent to stay with friends for a while, and apparently the people have now told the police that it has been stolen!
Everyone on the estate is horrified .... people are afraid to walk their dogs now, and say they won't even let their young children out to play on the estate. There is a petition which everyone is signing to give copies to the council and the police - asking for something to be done so that people feel safe again. My shop is a focal point for all this activity, as all the local dog people come here and use the shop to pass on messages.
So what is the law? Everyone is saying that the dog must be a danger to children as well as to other dogs. Where do we go from here?
Advice welcome.
Mary Sanders


  1. What a very sad situation.
    I don't know the law - but I know a woman who does. I have interviewed Ann Harpwood who founded Justice For Dogs and can only describe her as formidable.
    Here are the details - good luck.


    Registered Charity No. 1059356

    Founder: Ann L M Harpwood
    Finloren Cottage, Weythel, Old Radnor Powys, LD8 2RR
    Telephone and Fax: 01544 370213

    Justice For Dogs is a unique charity that exists to help you, your club or organisation on all matters relating to canine welfare and ownership. Maybe your problem is simply a domestic one that needs only a few words of experienced advice to solve it. Maybe it involves a local authority, a neighbour, a vet, or the police. Many seemingly intractable problems can often be solved over the phone with advice on what your legal status is with regard to your situation. Some questions are, of course, more complex and may need the services of the Justice For Dogs' team of professionals, which includes barristers, solicitors, veterinary surgeons and other experts in their field. All this help and advice is free to those in need, but naturally, the Charity cannot meet the legal charges involved in court actions.

  2. Defra are the Government Body who deal with such issues. There is clarfication in the following link as well as a link to the DEFRA leaflt.

  3. A similar thing happened in my village a few months ago & luckily the smaller dog survived but only just.The owner of aggressive dog drove injured dog(& owner) to her own vet & paid costs.A lot of complaints were made as not first time but the most serious.I complained to police & dog wardens as we all walk in the area but heard no more.Eventually found out offending dog has to be muzzled.We also think it did bite a child but can't prove it was same dog.That is as far as it went.Not good enough.

  4. jo siemieniowski16 May 2009 at 02:55

    I have contacted the dog wardens in my area and they passed me onto another department who take details of the offending dog, and they get in touch with that person who owns the dog, and is then told that if they dont keep the dog on a lead and muzzled at all times when out that they will report it as a dangerous dog.

  5. It's a ghastly situation and I'm afraid one that is happening more and more in South London, where I live.
    My Sussex spaniel was attacked by two ferocious Staffies at once in a park near where we live in Colliers Wood. They came tearing up out of the blue and fastened themselves upon him. One locked its jaws into his shoulder. It was horrific. My vet said he could have been killed. Fortunately the owners came running up and prised the dogs off.
    Now I have a Sussex puppy and am worried about going out with it in this part of London because the situation has got so much worse.
    It's true, the police don't want to know when it's dog-on-dog and the dog wardens have no powers. Well, they do, but they don't seem to enforce them and anyway they clock off work at 5pm.
    The truth is, I suspect, that they are frightened of the type of people that usually have these fighting-type dogs. When I dared to suggest to the owners of my dog's attackers that they kept their dogs on leads, they threatened to bash my face in.
    My partner and I, who were both then in our fifies, just had to walk away with our poor dog or face the consequences.
    My dog warden conveniently went to ground when I wanted to tell him where the owner of the staffs lived. I think he knew all too well who they were.
    To its credit, Wandsworth council is very aware of the problem of dangerous dogs and now has a 5-strong dog team. They and various other boroughs are about to bring in a new law requiring dogs to be on leads on the streets and on council estates. They are also cracking down on youths strengthening their dogs' jaws by getting them to swing on tree branches. Other councils are becoming aware of the problem.
    I know there are lots of lovely owners of staff-type dogs, whose dogs are well socialised, but the truth is every dog-on-dog attack that has happened around here, and every dog-on-person attack in South London, has involved a staff-type dog.
    I work on a local paper and have written up story after story about these attacks.
    There was the staff that jumped over a hedge into a garden and killed outright a Yorkie that belonged to an elderly couple.
    At the other extreme, there was a concert pianist wheeling her toddler in a pram who was knocked down by two staffs off the lead and so badly mauled she had to have plastic surgery.
    Unfortunately there is a politically correct view that sees all dogs as the same and only the owners as needing education.
    The truth is that these dogs have been bred to fight other dogs and have jaws capable of locking on to their prey. One cannot just ignore the effects of these genes.
    Most ordinary dogs are just not interested in attacking other dogs. They might have a disagreement and a punch-up with a dog they don't like but they don't go for the kill, like these breeds do.
    If you have a sociable dog, how on earth can you protect it against these thugs of the dog world and their often thuggish owners?
    It makes it worse that no-one, not even the police, is there to come to your help and we are not even allowed to have any of the defensive sprays they have in the US.
    However a South London dog behaviorist has given me a tip when I told him of my fears.
    It was to buy one of those plastic lemons and squirt the juice into the attacking dog's eyes.
    At least it might give you time to get your dog to safety.
    Julia Lewis

  6. There is a documentary on BBC3, Thursday at 9pm: 'My Weapon is a Dog'. Radio Times: '...unflinching look at how threatening canines are being used as status symbols...'

  7. From the magazine that expresses (quite rightly) outrage at some of Ceaser Milans cruel techniques, we have a blog (posted in the magazine itself) that castigates an entire breed and their owners as thugs and goes on to encourage people to squirt lemon juice in a dogs eye! As a dog lover and owner of 6 Staffies over the last 17 years, including a housebound disabled Staffie that we loved and cared for for 8 years, I take great acception to myself and my dogs all being tarred with the same brush. Over the years we have we have encountered many problem of other dogs that are off the lead attacking our dogs from GSD, Collies, Jack Russels to Westies and Toy breeds and the majority of the time my Staffies didn;'t even retaliate let alone "go for the kill". Whilst I have every sympathy for somebody experiencing the horrible sight of having their beloved dog attacked or worse killed, I cannot let this outrages slur on an entire breed and owners go. The problem with the staffie is indeed the low life types that are atracted to the breed because of their fighting history as indeed do many other breeds. Does this mean any breed that was origianlly bred for fighting or indeed hunting should be banned Jack Russels, Fox Hounds? Or should we ban all large cars because they have more potential to kill when driven by an idiot. Or lets take this further all scouser are thiefs so lets ban all scousers! Yes that last statement is incorrect and outrages but it draws a parallel to the outrages comment regarding Staffies printed in what, until reading the afformentioned article, I had always regarded as a worthwhile and well balanced publication. Punish the owners not the breed.

    Stuart Evans

  8. I agree with you 100% stuart